Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/American Legion
AMERICAN LEGION, an organization composed of members who served in the United States army or navy during the World War. It was incorporated Sept. 16, 1919, though it had been informally organized in Paris in the preceding March. The preamble to its constitution sets forth its objects as being “to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a hundred per cent. Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great War; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.” The legion aims to be non-political and not to promote candidacy of persons seeking public office. Its first national convention was held at Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 10-11, 1919. Col. F. W. Gailbraith, national commander for 1921, was killed in an accident on June 9, 1921. John W. Emery, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was elected on June 14, 1921, to succeed F. W. Gailbraith. The national headquarters are in New York City.